WINNIPEG – SPORTS – Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada Order of Merit leader Dan McCarthy continued his torrid pace on Saturday at the Players Cup, carding a 6-under 65 to take a five-stroke lead into the final round in Winnipeg at 18-under par.
McCarthy’s bogey-free 65 included four birdies on the front nine and two on the back, all while hitting every green at Niakwa Country Club.
“I struck the ball better today,” said McCarthy, who has played the front nine in 14-under over the first three rounds. “I really didn’t get into any trouble all day long and hit a lot of fairways so it was definitely a bit more solid today and even keeled.”
The Syracuse, New York, native will once again play in the final pairing on Sunday, having done so with the lead or co-lead on two occasions this season. McCarthy was able to convert the victory both times, but he still feels the pressure of trying to finish the job.
“There’s always going to be nerves,” McCarthy said. “If you’re not nervous doing what we do then there is something wrong. All I can do is focus on executing what I need to do.”
McCarthy was tied for the lead after 54 holes at the Freedom 55 Financial Championship before winning by one, and led by two through three rounds at the GolfBC Championship. With a win on Sunday, McCarthy would join Aaron Goldberg and John Ellis as the only players to win three times in one season. Goldberg accomplished the feat in 2010 and Ellis did so in 2008, prior to the PGA TOUR era.
“No lead is safe. I’m going to try and go out and be aggressive again and try to make as many birdies as I can to force them to make that many more,” McCarthy said. “I’m not going to try and change my game plan at all – just try to hit fairways and greens. When I do that I usually putt pretty well and that makes me tough to beat.”
Tied for second and five behind McCarthy are Cameron Peck and Michael Gligic at 13-under. After starting his round with three bogeys in his first six holes, Peck rebounded with six birdies to finish with a 3-under 68.
“I think my timing was just a little bit off because I was hitting everything a little bit right,” said Peck, who is looking to record his first top-10 finish of the season. “I got to 3-over, and I was little worried but I knew there were a lot of birdies out there and I could get them back one at a time.”
Gligic made an early charge at the lead with birdies on his first two holes and an eagle at the par-5 eighth en route to a 4-under 67.
“On Sunday, with me being close the final group with a chance to win, I’d say I’ve done a decent job these first three days and need to play a good one tomorrow,” said Gligic.
Order of Merit leader Dan McCarthy’s 6-under-par 65 on Saturday was his 19th consecutive under-par round to open the 2016 season. With the round, McCarthy is now 82-under par for the 2016 season.
McCarthy is mathematically guaranteed to be in the top three on the Order of Merit through next week’s Staal Foundation Open presented by Tbaytel and will earn a spot in the RBC Canadian Open – his first appearance in a PGA TOUR event.
In his previous two victories this season, McCarthy was T1 at the Freedom 55 Financial Open and held the lead at the GolfBC Championship through 54 holes.
First-round co-leader and Order of Merit No. 3 Max Rottluff shot a 66 on Saturday to move into a tie for fourth, six back of McCarthy.
With one week remaining until the top three in the Order of Merit gain exemptions into the RBC Canadian Open, a high finish on Sunday would put him in strong standing to grab one of the three available spots in the field. He is only $2,310 behind Order of Merit No. 2 Adam Cornelson and has a $4,137 lead over No. 4 Ryan Williams.
“You can never say you’re not thinking about it because obviously it’s in your head but I wouldn’t say it influences me. I’m trying to give myself good opportunities on the course and trying to go shot by shot. That’s all I can do.” – Max Rottluff on how much he is thinking about the opportunity to play in the RBC Canadian Open.
“I don’t feel like I have a bullseye on me or anything. I’m comfortable in the spot that I’m in but I can only focus on what I have to do.” – Dan McCarthy on maintaining his lead in the Order of Merit.
“Go make 100 birdies and hope he makes 50. He’s playing spectacular golf and he’s going to do great things on other tours in the future. Tomorrow I need to put some pressure on him early and try to make a bunch of birdies.” – Michael Gligic on trying to catch a steady McCarthy.
- Weather: 23 degrees Celsius (feels like 29), Partly cloudy, winds 10 km/h.
- PGA TOUR veteran Scott Gutschewski, who is making his first start of the PGA TOUR era on the Mackenzie Tour, shot a 3-under 68 and is 11-under through 54 holes (T7).
- Niakwa Country Club returns as host of the Players Cup for the first time since 1984, temporarily replacing Pine Ridge Country Club, which hosted the event from 2000-2015. The Players Cup will return to Pine Ridge in 2017 and alternate with Niakwa through 2019.
- After the conclusion of next week’s Staal Foundation Open presented by Tbaytel, the top three players in the Order of Merit will qualify for the PGA TOUR’s RBC Canadian Open on July 21-24.
- Burlington, Ontario’s Michael Gligic is the low Canadian through 54 holes at 13-under (T2).
- Click here for boxscores.